Davy Knowles at City Winery in Chicago, IL

The only January blues we were feeling were those emanating from Davy’s guitar during his show at Chicago’s City Winery.

2023 already has a great deal of shows lined up throughout the year, with concert calendars beginning to look like they did pre-2020. When we heard that Davy Knowles was going to be performing a relatively last-minute show at Chicago’s City Winery, we had to jump on board to make sure we got our fix. The last time we saw Davy at this venue was in October 2020 and it was a very different affair. There were an extremely limited number of tables, all spread out and socially distanced. Fast forward to January 2023 and it was back to normal with all the tables and chairs back where they usually are and instead of feeling nervous being in a room with other people, you could feel the joy and enthusiasm of both the band and the audience for the night ahead. 

What can we say about a Davy Knowles show that we haven’t said before? Knowles always puts 110% into every performance. Often, if you see the same performer a number of times, you’ll have that one show where it looks like their heart might not be totally in it. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve seen Davy perform, and every time it’s looked like he’s had as much fun on the stage as the audience has. 

Davy begins the night as he means to go on with the hard-hitting punches of “Ain’t Much of Nothin'” followed by”Riverbed” and “Catch The Moon.” What a way to kick off a show! Tod Bowers has been performing with Davy Knowles for some time now and it shows. The two of them are very much in sync with each other, culminating in a very tight performance. For this show, Rick King, who was on drumming duties for the evening, is a very familiar face on the Chicago music scene. 

If ever there was a way to cast off those January blues, this was it. That time after Christmas when the decorations have been taken down, we’ve all had to return to work, and it’s typically cold and grey outside, makes the days feel long and depressing. But this was all forgotten thanks to the upbeat tempo of songs such as “Hell To Pay,” “Oxford MS,” and the foot-stomper “Drunk Mind Sober Heart.” Partway through the set, the band left the stage as Davy performed his acoustic section of the night. This included the emotionally charged “If I Ever Meet My Maker,” which is impossible to hear performed live without at least getting a lump in your throat, or more likely, more than the odd tear in your eye.

As Tod and Rick returned to the stage, the tempo was kicked back up a notch with the likes of “What You’re Made Of,” Rory Gallagher’s “What In The World,” and Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Almost Cut My Hair” to bring it all home. This was a night of pure quality musicianship at its absolute best. No matter how many times you see Knowles perform live, you can’t help but be blown away by the intricate playing that he makes look so effortless. At one point, when the audience applauded a particularly impressive solo, Davy commented there was no need to applaud that as all you do is wobble your hands around and just hope for the best. We’re sorry, but we don’t think a single person there bought that one, Davy!

What a way to kick off the concert year. Hopefully, this one will set the tone for the rest of 2023. We’re looking forward to many more to come. Davy and the guys are constantly on the road, so please, please, please do yourself a favor and get along to one of their shows if they come to a town near you. You will not regret it!

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!